Roast eggplant cutlets with a creamy lemon-basil sauce (gf + v)

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Here is a simple, fresh and different way to serve eggplant when you’re in the mood for a change from the usual tomato-based preparations. The bright, fresh flavors of the lemon and basil contrast beautifully with the lovely umami of the eggplant. As always, the key is to roast that eggplant into sweet caramelized submission, so that it is utterly succulent and irresistible! Serves 2-3 as an entree.

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Super simple spaghetti pomodoro (gf + v)

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I was an overzealous tomato-buyer at Costco last week, and the next thing I knew there was a large tray of beautiful cocktail tomatoes threatening to spoil in my kitchen (the insane heat wave we’re having here didn’t help matters). A perfect opportunity to make a quick but delicious pasta pomodoro! This recipe has so few ingredients but each one is really crucial to its amazing, classic flavor (don’t even think of substituting dried ingredients for fresh in this recipe – total waste of time!). This is a totally different experience than eating your pasta with boring premade marinara sauce. Give it a try! Fair warning: your kitchen will smell amazing and this stuff is hard to stop eating. If you serve it with sides, you’ll get 4 servings – but if it’s a one-dish meal, count on just feeding two hungry adults!

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Brown rice fusilli with asparagus tips, English peas and pesto (gf + v)

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I hope you are well and that your week is off to a good start. Here’s a quick n’ easy pasta dish that is sure to be a hit even with pickier eaters! Simple enough for a weeknight dinner but elegant enough for a festive meal, It features my homemade vegan pesto which is super-versatile and can easily be made up to about a week in advance (keep in fridge), or longer if you freeze it. Fully of bright green, springy veggies and the wonderful herbal scent of basil, it won’t weigh you down the way that some greasy pesto dishes do. I use brown rice pasta but there’s no reason you couldn’t use regular or whole wheat if you prefer. Serves 4 as a main dish, 6-8 if it’s a side.

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Balsamic roasted eggplant (gf + v)

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Things got crazy over the past few months what with taking my boards and moving from NorCal to SoCal, but I am happy to finally be back in the kitchen cooking! I hope you’ve had a great and delicious summer! This recipe was inspired by a visit to my new local farmer’s market, where I was absolutely thrilled to find a large variety of eggplants for sale: lovely green Thai eggplants shaped like eggs, slender lavender Chinese eggplants, deep purple Italian eggplants, pale green Filipino eggplants…thanks to my husband “egging” me on, the next thing I knew I was buying one of each! Eggplant is a finicky vegetable, as I have mentioned in past recipes – the key is to cook it into sweet tender submission (undercooked eggplant is just bitter and gross!). While there are many ways to cook eggplant, my personal favorite to oven-roast it. I was very lucky to have been recently gifted a lovely bottle of seriously delicious balsamic vinegar as a graduation present from a dear coworker, so that also featured in this recipe. I hope you enjoy this versatile summer dish, which tastes great on its own, is lovely over a green salad or a bed of simple pasta marinara, or would also be great as an hors d’oeuvre served with toasted baguette slices or pita triangles. Serves 3-4.

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Easy broccoli mac n’ cheeze (gf + v)

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Ok folks, this one is definitely easy enough for a weeknight (I made sure it would be a one-pot recipe), and we are talking pure comfort food here…delicious carby creamy cheezy pasta goodness with broccoli – vegan and gluten free but tastes just as good as the real thing! And no neon-orange powder either. Serves 2 ravenous adults, or 4 people eating it as a civilized main dish with some sides.

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Roasted asparagus and pea risotto (gf + v)

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It is so fun to see the springtime produce in the stores – especially all the lovely green asparagus! In the aftermath of Passover I am always craving grainy carby dishes so here’s a healthier variation on a classic that is surprisingly easy to make. Sub brown rice for the traditional white (I used a short grain sweet brown rice from Lundberg Farms which worked perfectly) and you give it a nice nutty flavor plus all the health benefits of whole grains. Roasting the asparagus brings out its flavors so beautifully, and slow-cooking the rice in veggie broth with periodic stirring gives it a nice creamy texture without the addition of gobs and gobs of butter and cream as they often do in restaurants. Yes, you do end up standing at the stove a bit making this one, but it is easy to multi-task and put together other parts of your meal (a nice green salad, perhaps?) between stirring and adding broth. The results are well worth it! Serves 6.

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Roasted quinoa-stuffed tomatoes (gf + v)

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This is the perfect recipe for when there are a few too many lovely tomatoes threatening to go past their prime on your counter – an elegant guest-worthy dish full of fresh spring flavors and it’s gluten-free, super healthy and Passover friendly too! Not to mention, the stuffing is so delicious that it can easily be a quinoa pilaf side dish all on its own, if you like! Serves 3-4 as an entree.
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